Focus on PDI Labor Scheduler

If you were to speak with the townsfolk of Marietta, Ohio, there’s one name with which they would all be familiar — Par Mar. With a quintessential story of success birthed from small beginnings, the company and its well-known convenience stores are somewhat of a staple in those parts. Par Mar began as a petroleum marketer in 1967 and purchased its first convenience store in 1979. Nearly four decades later, it has more than 52 sites and 700 employees.

Par Mar logo

“Our goal is to have quality people at our stores who can provide quality service to our customers,” says Nichole Evans, director of accounting for Par Mar. “Providing quality service for our customers is highly contingent upon our ability to effectively manage and allocate our strongest asset—our people. The tools we were using simply weren’t up to the task.”

Like much of the industry, Par Mar’s scheduling needs were largely handled using manual resources, primarily Excel®. For some managers, even paper would do in a pinch. The result was a noticeable lack of visibility and control across all sites.

“The inconsistency was definitely proving to be quite challenging,” says Evans. “Without real-time data visibility, it was difficult to properly staff and keep overtime to a minimum. Making retrospective adjustments were tough as well because our reporting capabilities were limited.”

Par Mar was ready for a change, and the company found it in PDI Workforce. The labor management software helps retailers by providing a comprehensive tool to capture and review time, analyze site metrics, and schedule employees. “PDI Workforce has a number of applications that our organization uses,” says Evans. “The time clock piece of the product is really easy for our employees to use, and it introduces some much-needed automation into our time-tracking process.”

Par Mar also began using PDI Labor Scheduler, an intuitive, web-based application that empowers site-level managers to effectively control every aspect of employee scheduling, from reporting to overtime management. Over the course of several months, they implemented the product in all of their stores.

“In the beginning, we really paced ourselves to get a clear picture of how the scheduling feature would work for us,” Evans explains. “After about 60 days, we surveyed our managers, and the response was pretty overwhelming. They loved it!”

Almost immediately Par Mar began experiencing significant improvements in a few key areas: time spent creating schedules, staff allocation based on availability, visibility into the number of labor hours needed, and the ability to make real-time schedule adjustments during the week. Perhaps the most significant change the c-store chain began to see was in employee overtime.

“The great thing about PDI Labor Scheduler is the overall improvement in site-level visibility we were able to achieve,” says Evans. “To be honest, when we first started, we were really surprised with the amount of overtime that was occurring at our stores on a regular basis.”

PDI Labor Scheduler offered several tools to help the c-store chain curtail overtime and maintain quality, including the ability to view actual versus budgeted hours or borrow employees from other sites. By the end of the implementation, Par Mar was able to reduce overtime at its stores by more than 50 percent.

“Empowering managers to see overtime hours as they’re scheduling so they can keep their sites under budget is a huge win for us,” says Evans. “Just by cutting overtime alone, we’ll more than triple our initial investment in just a year. Combine that with the software’s ease of use, and you have a product that I’d recommend to any retailer.”

Download a PDF copy of this case study: Par Mar case study